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The island of Mindoro is one of the biggest of the Philippines and is divided in two separate provinces: Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental. The North of the Province can be reached in a relatively short time by sea from Batangas Province, which makes the area accessible also for people living in Manila. Many inhabitants of the capital go to these areas also for short stays (like week-ends).
The name Mindoro comes from the nickname given by Spanish colonizers, “Mina de Oro” (gold mine). In the pre-colonial period, the island was rich and a busy commercial hub. Today, it’s mostly an agricultural area with a small, though growing, tourism sector. From this point of view, we can divide the island in 2 parts: the northern part, where tourism is very developed, and the southern part (where the capital San Jose is located) which is much more bucolic and wild.
The queen of northern Mindoro is Puerto Galera, the centre of the touristic life of the island. Here you’ll find the famous White Beach, full of hotels and restaurants of different themes and levels. It’s a very active place, especially during peak holiday seasons. It’s the right place for those searching for fun, relaxation and food adventure with restaurants.
Anyway, you can also find several tranquil and wilder areas in Puerto Galera, if you are more into a comfortable yet peaceful stay in contact with sea and nature. Among those, you’ll find Aninuan Beach and Talipanan Beach. Nearby the latter you could find the typical traditional Mangyan village, famous among others for its handcrafted weaved products made with natural materials.
Plus, Puerto Galera is considered a prime destination for scuba diving. The local offer of diving centers is quite big and it keeps growing, thanks to some spots considered among the best ones of the country. Indeed, the area of Puerto Galera was declared UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1973, thanks to its variegated nature.
There are also chances to visit the local islets with island hopping tours, good also for those that simply like to snorkel. Also, the inland side of Puerto Galera is mainly wild, with high mountains covered by tropical forests with beautiful waterfalls.
The southern and occidental side of Mindoro is quite wilder instead, with a much more limited and “niche” tourism development. Here you could enter in contact with the real life of the Filipino province, dominated by agriculture and fishery.
There is no lack of exceptional beaches and sea beds around here, especially in the area of Sablayan. One of the most exciting places surely is the small Pandan Island, an ideal place for a stay far from chaos, packed with crystal-clear sea waters and very beautiful sea creatures.
Indeed, we are not far from the famous province of Palawan and in particular we are very near the beautiful Apo Reef. It’s the second biggest contiguous reef system of the planet, the biggest in the Philippines. For these reasons, this area is considered as of exceptional value for the sea lovers, giving the opportunity of having a very high level scuba diving.
At the same time, if you are passionate just with snorkeling, it’s very easy to encounter many colorful fishes, sea turtles and other great beauties of nature, just by using a snorkel and a mask.
At this point, you just need to decide which is the right Mindoro side for you! The most fun and touristic one, or the most natural and wild one? Perhaps, both? In any case, be sure your stay is going to be great!
Pictures of Puerto Galera and surronding areas (Mindoro Oriental)
Pictures of Pandan Island and surroundings (Mindoro Occidental)
Our video at Pandan Island